EVERYONE BELONGS by Heather Avis
ILLUSTRATOR: Sarah Mensinga
GENRE: Children’s Picture Book
RELEASE DATE: August 9, 2022
A joyful rhyming book that encourages children to not only value all people but to also make room for their differences in order to make a better, brighter, and more beautiful world, from the New York Times bestselling author of Different—A Great Thing to Be!
“We know everyone’s different; no two are the same. You belong in our show!” the sisters exclaimed.
Macy and Tru are putting on a spectacular talent show to highlight the ways they love to perform. Other kids arrive, eager to participate but unsure if they’ll be welcomed. Since the two sisters know that everything is a lot more fun when everybody’s included, they’re determined to find a role in the show for each person.
Inspiring, encouraging, and packed with joy, Everyone Belongs reminds us that it’s possible to make room for all people and all abilities—and that life is brighter when we give every person a chance to shine.
“Exactly who you are is exactly who we pick.”
Oh how I loved the message in this sweet picture book – from the endearing illustrations to the rhyming text that celebrates our differences, this is one I will proudly add to the shelves of children’s books I keep on hand for my nieces and nephew. And, if I may divulge a secret, I enjoy reading them too, even if no nieces or nephews are in sight.
Have I got a story to share with you,
one about sisters named Macy and Tru.
It’s a tale of two girls and one fabulous show,
and you are invited. So come on, let’s go!
Macy and Tru may be sisters but they are delightfully different and they decide to put on a show at the park so they both have a chance to shine. As they make preparations, other children stop by and wonder if they can be part of the show as well… or if their differences will prevent their involvement. A variety of abilities, limitations, backgrounds, and personalities grace these pages, and I love the line that repeats periodically in the text – “Exactly who you are is exactly who we pick.” This is a message my own parents spoke over my younger brother and myself as we were growing up, valuing exactly how God made us, so it made my heart happy to see it being spoken over other children as well.
Heather Avis has written a delightful book, and illustrator Sarah Mensinga perfectly complements the text with her colorful artwork. Macy and Tru are modeled after Avis’s beautifully unique daughters, and each of the other beautifully unique characters in Everyone Belongs are portrayed with value, dignity, and joy Every page made me smile, and children will love the bright colors and the way Mensinga brings the activity to life.
Bottom Line: Everyone Belongs combines Heather Avis’s winsome and embracing text with Sarah Mensinga’s vibrant and endearing illustrations. Through the eyes of Macy and Tru, differences and disabilities are acknowledged but seen as benefits, rather than limitations, and the intrinsic value of each person is praised. It models for children how to make room for and show love to everyone, especially the people who are routinely overlooked by others. “Exactly who you are is exactly who we pick.” And I pick this book to add to my collection!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 5 stars / fantastic!
Heather Avis is the founder and chief visionary officer at The Lucky Few, a social awareness brand on a mission to make a more inclusive and loving world with an emphasis on shifting the Down syndrome narrative. She runs The Lucky Few’s hit Instagram account and is the author of a book and co-host of the podcast by the same name, and her first children’s book, Different—A Great Thing to Be!, became a New York Times bestseller. Heather lives in Southern California with her husband, Josh, and their three kids, Macy, Truly, and August.
Sarah Mensinga is an author and illustrator who has worked as an animator and concept artist. She also illustrated Different—A Great Thing to Be! A former Canadian, Sarah now lives in Texas with her husband and three kids. Find Sarah on Instagram.
Other Featured Books by Heather Avis & Sarah Mensinga
WaterBrook is offering a print copy of Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis to TWO of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis & Sarah Mensinga with a child in your life?